David Brooks’ column drawing attention to the rise of an economic model that’s not Soviet-style Communism but also stands in contrast to the various forms of “democratic capitalism — ranging from the United States to Denmark to Japan” that exist around the world.
But positing this as a stark conflict between a US/Denmark/Japan “democratic capitalism” camp and a Russia/China/Saudi Arabia/Iran/Venezuela “state capitalism” camp seems very misleading. What about France? Clearly a democracy. Lots of private firms. Clearly impacted by neoliberalism. But less impacted than other western countries. Still lots of state ownership of enterprises. Or Norway with one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds. Or for that matter Singapore, which isn’t a democracy but is often seem as one of the most free market countries in the world but with, again, two big sovereign wealth funds—Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation. How does Hydro Québec fit into Brooks scheme?
I think he’s raising important questions here, but precisely because people aren’t accustomed to thinking about the implications of this kind of state capitalism it’s important to try to think clearly about what’s happening and not rush to proclaim a new form of Cold War.